Did you know that about 46% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions? I have to admit that I typically try to start new and important things the moment I decide that they are new and important, but I’m not going to deny that a bright, shiny New Year isn’t a tempting time to reflect on priorities and maybe try something that you’ve been thinking about but just haven’t started yet.
I try to think of resolutions that fit in to the natural trajectory of the path I am on – it seems the best plan for success for me. (I’ll leave things like “try skydiving” to the more adventurous…) Since I started running in 2011, my resolution for 2014 was to finish a marathon. I’m proud to say that I accomplished that goal in October 2014 at the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. Woohoo!
2015 will have me looking at new fitness goals (a triathlon, perhaps) and since “lose weight” and “get in shape” have been the top resolutions in the history of resolutions, I thought it would be fun to share some tips on how to enjoy this new goal with your pets!
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 54% of our pets are overweight or obese. Fortunately, there are some fun activities that you and your pet can do together so you can both hit your goals!
As always, your veterinarian is the best resource for diet and exercise information specific to your breed and your individual animal, so please check with him or her prior to starting any diet or exercise program.
Most dogs need about 30 minutes of activity per day and cats should have 3 separate play times equaling about 5 minutes each.
A couple of things I do with my kitty: – Let him chase the dot from a small flashlight (be careful not to shine this in their eyes, especially if you use a laser pointer) – Keep a couple of very small bowls of dry food around the house. If he finishes the couple of bites from the kitchen, he has to walk to the next room for more. – Dangle a catnip toy on a string. This even gets my lazy little man jumping in the air!
That 30 minute daily walk (or run) you resolve to take? Take your pup along with you! I’ll bet after a few days of this, it’s likely your furry friend won’t let you forget to do it! Change up the pace between walking and light running to get your heart rate up – a great calorie burner! Leashing your dog for a few trips up and down the stairs is a great way to get in some exercise on those bad weather days.
Playing fetch at the park? Throw the ball or toy and race your dog to retrieve it!
Swimming is also a wonderful option for older dogs.
And did you know that there are several activity trackers for your pets, too! That Fitbit that we love so much? Now your pets can have one! The tracker will allow you see if your pet is hitting their recommended activity level and can even let your vet know if there have been any sudden changes in activity that may need to be checked. I haven’t used any of them yet but I know several people that love them! (I’m sure you can see some of this activity in your Facebook feed – it’s so adorable!)
Want to research a few trackers or toys? Here are a few links to get you started. (In the interest of disclosure, these are affiliate links that will take you over to Amazon.) What activities does your pet enjoy? Please share your tips and tricks!